Tiger Woods fires impressive 67 at Riviera

Tiger Woods of the United States lines up a putt on the ninth green during the third round of the The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on 18 February 2023 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Michael Owens / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Tiger Woods fired an eagle and three birdies in a four-under-par 67 on Saturday to power up the leaderboard at the Genesis Invitational, his first US PGA Tour event since July.

The 15-time major champion had made the cut on the number after struggling on the greens in a second-round 74.

But he delighted the huge, vocal contingent of fans cheering him on at Riviera Country Club with one of the best rounds of the day — and his lowest in his four starts since a February 2021 car accident that left him with severe leg injuries

“It’s the best I’ve played,” Woods said.

An eagle at the par-five first — his 10th hole of the day — was the highlight. Woods’s approach from just off the fairway threatened the hole before coming to a stop three feet from the pin.

It was Woods’s 189th eagle in PGA Tour competition and his ninth at Riviera — where he has never won in 13 prior starts.

“Today was better,” Woods said. “I felt like I made some nice adjustments with my putting and that was the thing that held make back yesterday.

“I’ve driven it well the last three days, my iron play was been good. And the firm conditions I like, that’s kind of right up my alley with iron play.

“I made a few adjustments today and some of the putts went in.”

Woods opened his round with a 16-foot birdie at the 10th and picked up another shot at the 14th.

He got to five-under for the day — four-under for the tournament when he rolled in a 12-foot birdie at the fifth.

Woods gave a stroke back at the seventh, where he missed the green and couldn’t get his 21-footer to save par to drop.

He closed with a pair of two-putt pars, his three-under total of 210 putting him tied for 26th, 12 shots behind Spain’s Jon Rahm, who topped the leaderboard at 15-under.

Aches, pains, swelling

Woods, still wrestling with serious leg injuries from the accident, hadn’t played a tour-level event since he missed the cut at the Open Championship at St. Andrews in July.

Sidelined in 2021 after his crash, Woods returned last year to finish 47th at the Masters but withdrew after at the PGA Championship limping to a third-round 79.

With his lower right leg and ankle still making walking problematic, Woods has said he hopes to play all four majors this year and a few other events.

He insisted this week that he wouldn’t tee it up if he didn’t think his fitness and his game would give him a chance to win.

His performance Saturday at Riviera, where he again negotiated the course tucked into the hills west of downtown Los Angeles smoothly, was encouraging, although the injuries certainly remain a factor.

“Well, there’s aches and pains and swelling,” Woods said. “I still have that heel issue. That’s why I didn’t play in the Bahamas.

“I’ve stopped walking now, it’s a little sore right now.

“The golf part I can do, it’s just a matter of whether I can get from point A to point B.”

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